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Equine Activities and Therapies

For many individuals who have served in our military, the ability to remain relaxed in the present moment and make important connections with other people is more difficult than most of the general public.  Often, this is a by-product of PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.  Additionally, when serving in the military, there is a demand for all individuals to be acutely aware of their surroundings at all times due to the perilous conditions faced each day.  For many who have served, this hyper-vigilant state does not subside when returning to re-integrate into society.  Making connections with civilians is challenging often resulting in a sense of isolation even when returning to home, friends and family.

Equine-assisted therapy is proving effective with veterans for both physical and emotional rehabilitation, including for PTSD and brain injuries. These individuals need an environment that is non-restrictive and challenging. High Hopes’ programs for veterans focus on interactions between the horse and the individual, and allows for risk-taking activities that build upon improving personal decision-making. Similarly, the outdoor environment at our 120 acre facility provides a healing and stress-relieving opportunity.

The veterans who come to High Hopes are a diverse population and our goal is to provide services that meet their varying needs.  The following is a brief description of the programs currently offered at High Hopes for our veteran population.

The Equus Effect Program:

The Equus Effect is a horsemanship program designed specifically for Veterans which builds upon the horse-human bond and its effects on healing, building, trust and improving relationship.  Currently High Hopes runs 5 Equus Effect sessions throughout the year.  Each session is five weeks long with a maximum of six participants per session.  Veterans can enroll in either one session of the program or continue to build upon the programs impact by taking part in multiple sessions.

High Hopes is currently working with the Norwich Vet Center in identifying and referring Veterans to this program and supports it with a clinician during each session.


Individual Veteran Participation in Therapeutic Riding, Carriage Driving and unmounted Horse Sense Programs:                                                                                                                                    Veterans can enroll in High Hopes 27 week program in either therapeutic riding, carriage driving or our unmounted Horse Sense program.  These programs are separate from The Equus Effect, but utilize much of the same healing power of the horse and can be a great follow up for alumni of The Equus Effect or can be enjoyed on their own.


Veteran Volunteers:                                                                                                                                 Helping others while working as a Program volunteer provides therapeutic benefits, while also enabling volunteers the opportunity to build beneficial equine relationships.  Volunteering is a great way to connect with the community and High Hopes volunteer support all aspects of our program from horse care to rider assistance to event support.



To find out more information about our veteran services please contact:

Megan Ellis, Program Operations Manager
(860) 434 – 1974 ext. 116

These equine activities offered include:

Therapeutic Riding

High Hopes accommodates all four elements of therapeutic riding as defined by PATH Intl.: Recreation, Therapy, Sport, and Medicine in a unique way through our interdisciplinary team approach that includes the applied practices of both the Therapeutic Riding Instructor and licensed Therapists in the areas of Physical, Occupational, Speech and Language and Expressive Therapies.

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Carriage Driving

People with disabilities that restrict their movements, such as those who cannot easily transfer from a wheelchair, Image of smiling pair carriage driving can participate with the security of an adapted cart. Benefits include improvements in balance, posture, coordination and emotional well-being.

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Equine Learning

The Equine Learning Program curriculum is designed on an individual basis to accommodate each student’s needs and goals. The Equine Learning Program is an excellent way for individuals to develop confidence and become comfortable working with horses.

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